Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sooo Boring. Seriously, just skip it.

This is going to be one of my nonsense posts* because I am simply putting off doing chores.

This was Administrative Professionals Week or, as I insist on calling it, Secretaries Week. I forgot that there was an actual day until I rolled into work on the 25th to find two free movie passes on my desk, compliments of The Man, my company. I also received flowers from Manager and a balloon and almond bark from Boss (old boss) who said, simply "you'll always be my assistant; you're really mine anyway".  Lovely woman, Boss. I always say I'd open a vein for her and I mean it because she is, without a doubt, the most amazing manager I've ever had, a great friend, and just rad all around (BFF can attest). Back to Secretaries Week. My cubicle is full of candy now because of the almond bark and the arrival of a package from my mother who sent me some souvenirs from her visit to Teacher in the UAE. It was a mixture of souvenirs and Easter basket based on the Robins Eggs, Quality Street (this purchased in Abu Dhabi or Dubai based on the Arabic), and Whoppers. Felt a bit like it was my birthday with the flowers, candies, and gifts.

Friday my fellow Secretaries and I attended a training event held by a professional society (to which I belong**). We go every year and it is usually wonderful but this year was a bit of a let down. The first speaker bored many of us to tears as he instructed us on the use of a Microsoft application. Don't get me wrong, if I wanted to take a class with his company on this piece of software, I would very much like to have him as my instructor because he is passionate, enthusiastic, and knows his stuff. I'm certain he's a fantastic teacher. But it's not what you look for on this occasion. The second speaker had us play a game and then talked about change. He wasn't bad, but the program said he'd be talking about conflict so we were a bit confused. Still, it was nice of my company to send us and I kind of wish I'd paid more attention to the first guy rather than behaving like the bad kids in high school with the girls women professionals at my table at the back of the room. I did win a door prize. A needle point plaque that says something about loving my home or something. I know it doesn't say "Bless This Home" because I'd remember that. "Cherish the Home?" I don't know. It's sweet and lovely but kind of hilarious that I won it. I'm going to keep it though, and let it serve as a decoy.

Highlights of the event: We had to break into groups to play a team building game, part of which involved playing games to win tickets (the event was held at Dave and Busters). My team was kicking ass at one game and then this skinny blond woman in a hot pink jacket started yelling "no hogging games! No hogging games!" My girlfriend, Rambo, was on her team and when I came back to that game and found Rambo still on it, I started saying "no hogging games!" cracking her shit up. This woman struck me as the type to always have full make up on and perfect hair. She makes PTA type jokes and is something from a television dramedy that you don't think actually exists in real life until you meet her yourself. If she's married, you know she gets diamonds and pearls for gifts.

The other highlight was my table. I sat with colleagues of course, because fuck, I'm not really going to mingle with true professionals, even if I have met a number of them through the professional society. Fuck that. One of the women at my table was Iago and we somehow had an unspoken agreement that our goal would be to make one another laugh throughout the event. We also both decided that we needed a little something to get through it so she took a Percocet and, at a break, I went to my car and dug out a Provigil. She ended up chill and I ended up doodling obsessively on drinks napkins. It was awesome and the time flew by. Then they made us go back to work, unlike last year when they sent us home. But Hunter was in his office so I was able to pout and bitch to him via instant messenger and he helped me get through the day, as did Bean, my successor under Boss, who emailed me updates regarding NWCW and how she was totally ignoring work.

And that is Secretaries Week. Yeah, that bored me too, what I wrote up above.

*Because really, most posts are so profound and worth your time.

**Didn't see that coming, did you? I belong to a professional society. Haven't been to a meeting in almost a year. Meant to start going and then my life imploded, damn it. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Further Conversations of Awesomeness - Now with pictures!

Over IM with Hunter during work today.

Hunter:
I love the recast monster. He's proudly hanging on my wall now. 


Simply:


Hunter's wall of monsters 


Hunter:
And I really wanted to go to the gym today but there's no fucking way. 

Simply:
Because of the work you have? 


Hunter:
Yes. I have so much shit to do and no one will leave me alone. 


Simply:
Even with your door closed? 


Hunter:
To get my budget right means I have to talk to others. When I leave my office to talk to others, it gives other people an opportunity to pester me. Plus, I have a hard time ignoring people and email. I just got an email from XXX. and I automatically stop everything I'm doing to answer it but that just puts me further behind. I have to learn to blow people off for awhile. I have a meeting at 1 and another at 2. I shouldn't blow either of them off but I need to. 


Simply:
I just sent you a sign you can wear when you are walking around talking to people you actually need to talk to. (from email)


Hunter:


I just started laughing hysterically to the point where people outside my office are wondering why. 


Simply:
Show them the sign and ask if they think it would be an effective deterrent 


Hunter:
Totally inappropriate for me to even hang on my wall but funny as hell 


Simply:
Get it made into a screen print t-shirt 


Twas my most inspired work to date. 


Hunter:
It was awesome. I've printed it to show people I know when they come in my office. 


Simply:
I made one you can hang up. (from email)


Hunter:
You're awesome.


Simply:
I'm pretty great.


Hunter:
My little office printer is getting a work out today. Hasn't printed so much color in it's life. 


Simply:


Personally, I prefer the ass to mouth rape threat but I understand that you can't be quite so vulgar in your position.  


Imma have to put this conversation, with pictures, on my blog. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In Which I've Been Listening to Gotye On Repeat...

and don't care about my audience.

I haven't heard from J since March 24, the last time he responded to an email, the one in which he said he couldn't accept half our tax return. He can't face me, talk to me, deal with me, handle me. He can't respond.

I understand it, I think. No, no I don't because I'm not him and I don't know his feelings. I assume it's because he's hurting and it's too painful. Or maybe he's angry? The truth is, I don't know why he can't interact with me but I know it's because I've left him for good. I have to hope that he's OK based on the fact that I emailed him after the 24th of March to let him know I transferred money into our joint account for the Verizon bill and that money has been withdrawn. I cling to that and am somewhat reconciled that I'll have a once monthly reminder that he is OK as I'll email him each month with the same subject line "I've transferred money into the joint account for the Verizon bill" and I'll monitor said account to see that it has been withdrawn.

I'm angry with myself and, I don't know, the universe maybe, that whilst I know I forfeited any right to hurt and upset when I made the final decision, I still feel so torn up inside. I know what my role in this is and yet I can't help but be incredibly sad and angry about it. I'm not angry at J, not at all. I'm just angry. I go about my day and deal with things, all things, in my life, but I have this ghost or shadow hanging over me all the time. This desperate feeling because all I have left of J is silence. It's a constant reminder of the hurt I've caused him.

I don't think he wants me to feel like this. Again, I obviously don't know what he wants or what he feels, but I have known him for nearly eight years and he's neither cruel nor malicious. So I don't think he'd clap and be happy to know that the wife that kicked him out, the wife that said "divorce" feels... feels what exactly? Sad. Devastated. Worried. Wrecked. Terrified. Guilty. So, so guilty. I don't think that would make him feel good at all. I don't for a moment think that his silence is a way of getting back at me. But I suppose, if it is, I'd have to say well done.

Every so often it deluges me, just as MS used to. I remember breaking down out of nowhere and wondering "when am I going to get used to this inevitable thing that has entered my life? When am I going to stop freaking out? Stop crying about it? When will it just be a part of me that I can deal with and not think about constantly?" That's how I feel about J and our break up. I remember the relief I felt when I finally told him that it was just over, relief because I was finally honest and we could start moving on without clinging to something that was no longer there, the spider webs where a foundation once stood.

It's "funny" because I used to tell him that if we ever split up I could never be his friend as we were never friends to begin with. No, we actually dated and then were boyfriend and girlfriend before husband and wife. Now I'm facing that reality from the other side. I can't imagine or comprehend a life where I don't know him, don't talk to him, don't have an idea of what is going on in his life. It isn't even about wanting to take care of him anymore. I just like the guy and I want to know what he is up to.

And I completely understand and appreciate why I don't get that and why I have no right to it. I understand that, just as I understand that I have no right to feel sorry for myself as this was MY decision, but that doesn't take away the pain that I feel and it doesn't help me shutter my emotions. It still hurts, very deeply and almost continuously. I don't talk about it with my friends or family because I feel ashamed and selfish to admit to these feelings when, again, it's my doing. I don't even really allow myself to think about it too often because it just makes me angry at myself for being weak, selfish, childish, and awful. Make your bed and lie in it without bitching about what you've created.

But it's there, he's there, every moment of my life.

A Perfectly Thursday Sort of Post

Oh So Inappropriate
Oh cell phones! Aren't they wonderful? My favorite thing is getting a text from someone I don't know and then responding inappropriately. The following exchange took place yesterday evening.

Stranger: "Hey mommy this is mi new phone."
Me: "Mommy's at the neighbor's helping him lay some pipe."

Hey, I didn't know I was talking to a twelve year old until after she harassed me for a bit and I told her, for a second time, to leave me alone. I really hope the name she gave me was fake but, with kids, you never can tell. Explains her terrible spelling though. Her response to my pipe laying remark was unintelligible. But I think she's white because she went on to tell "mommy" that she was dating a black boy named KD.

Has anyone else noticed how sexy our government has gotten? I don't think it has been so sexy since Clinton was in office sexing up the interns. Now the Secret Service is getting in on the action with their Colombian hookers.  I, personally, see nothing wrong with hookers and nothing wrong with men paying for them, so part of me thinks this whole to-do is a non-issue. Rather, I would think that if we were talking about the American Men's Olympic Gymnastics team or The Ohio State University's football team. But we aren't; we are talking about the Secret Service. Does it bother me that they hired some prostitutes period? Absolutely not. But if you have the fucking word "secret" anywhere in your job description or divisional title, then act smarter and don't get caught. And if you are going to hire a prostitute, pay her for her services. That is just good manners. No haggling, OK? And no, your penis and your performance are probably not adequate compensation.

Petty Annoyances
The following are trivial things that I find to be irksome.We all have them and they are usually really minor. Feel free to share your own. Mine all happen to have to do with work because that's where I am most of the day.
  • The smell of lean cuisine type meals heating up in the microwave. It never really bothered me until I began working at a company where so many people heat up these things at or around the same time.
  • The smell of popcorn. Ditto above.
  • When I tell my boss I'm pressed for time, he comes over to talk to me about what can be delegated, and then proceeds to engage me in idyll chit chat for fifteen minutes. 
  • Voice mail messages.
  • The fact that the clocks on our computers and the clocks on our telephones do not match up. It used to be worse, with a two or three minute discrepancy, but even the weird thirty minute lag time irritates me.
  • When I receive a request from someone who basically wants me to be a middle man for no good reason. Sally Sunshine is contacted by someone about having misplaced his manual. Sally emails me and asks me to forward the manual. Sally has fucking access to the manual but has decided I'm the one who needs to send it. Sally Sunshine should work for the government.
  • When people reply all on email chains without considering who "all" comprises. 
  • Having to lock up everything even if I'm just walking down to the printer. 
  • When people hold teleconferences in cubicles or in offices with the door open so we can all hear.
  • When I repeatedly x out of programs I need to keep open because I have so many windows open and there is a delay in closing the ones I don't need to keep up and so I double click the x.
  • The curve in my spine that I'm developing from my desk job... not that I want to be out in the field running through obstacle courses or anything.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Italian

I can't help it! Upstairs Kid gave me an hour long tutorial on cleaning and maintaining Clyde, what to do if I should encounter a double feed or (unlikely) a stove pipe. He also showed me how to take the gun apart and put it back together again. AND! He wants me to buy him out so I will do so. Thus, my excitement is renewed before it even had a chance to wane. I just regret not being able to take better pictures of him. Hand in glove is all I have to say. UK showed me one time how to take the gun apart and put it back together and, a few hours later, I was able to do so on my own!



But so yeah, I own a Beretta 9mm! I'm so super stoked that I can't even describe it. I love this fucking gun and everything about it. And I haven't even shot it yet! I mean, yeah, I've shot a 9mm, but I haven't shot Clyde. I just love the feel of it, the weight, the smell of the oil and the feel of pulling back the slide. I am, as you might say, enamored.

Sunday April 15

Title makes it look like I'm going to talk about taxes, doesn't it? But mine were done and filed long ago and I think everyone has until Tuesday this year. No, I just figured it would be an easy way to title a post (and we all know that I hate titling posts).

Formal Wear
Columbus is beautiful today, all washed and shiny from yesterday's rain, the grass putting on it's greenest and the sky delighting in itself. Not that I'm actually outside taking advantage of it or anything. I only know that it is a glorious day because I've been hauling my laundry, once again doing it in shifts because I'm twelve years old and refuse to attend to my laundry until I'm up against an underpantsless wall. So instead of taking a walk and enjoying the Spring air, my interaction with the day and the outdoors has turned into resentment against my stupid towels and stupid underpants and stupid work clothes because it's their fault that I can't be outside enjoying the weather. Still, I enjoy it when my city looks its finest and I actually notice. It's like receiving an unexpected gift and I get a little spring in my step and I decide to work on my attitude just a bit because, after all, Columbus is being gorgeous and I don't want to make her look bad. So well done, Coly, well done indeed.

I don't actually dislike doing laundry, by the way. If I had my own machines it would be done on a far more regular basis than it is now. I don't even necessarily object to having to do my laundry outside my apartment. No, it's the fact that I have to haul it two buildings over that makes me feel exhausted just thinking about it. It's nonsensical, actually, because it should be the other way round. Because I have to carry my laundry two buildings over, why not do it on a regular basis in order to keep the load lighter? Because I'm a lazy child who is a very slow learner, that's why. I end up doing it in shifts because I always have at least two loads by the time I'm forced to wash my clothes (I think I have two more to go, actually, but I've run out of quarters) and I used to take it all in one go and it would be a torturous walk for me and my weak upper body. Now I simply take one load in, put it in the washer, and, when it is time to change over to the dryer, I bring a second load to start the wash cycle. And I just reconcile myself to the fact that a good portion of my day is going to be spent around laundry.

I'm somewhat pathological about laundry, aren't I? I believe that every time I do it, I end up writing about it here with the rest of my nonsense and bullshit. The fact that laundry day means a lot of sitting around the apartment waiting to change machines or pick up a load means I have plenty of time to bore the internet. And a lot of opportunities to say the word "load" which makes me uncomfortable and squirmy.

Anaerobic
I'm being far more productive today than I was yesterday because I have the emotional wherewithal to do so. I got into a "thing" with Bluebell, a good friend, yesterday, and it caused for a lot of misunderstanding, confusion, and panic, on both our parts I believe. When things get super stressy and overwhelming at work, I end up second guessing myself and fearing that I've snapped at others and so I end up sending needless apology emails to people who reply with "huh?" and "what the heck are you talking about?" Actually, Birdy replied with something more akin to "did someone chew you out about not being professional or something? I have no idea what you're talking about."

I do this because I don't like misunderstandings and I want my feelings and actions to be crystal clear. And that is just with work colleagues and/or work friends. Yesterday's misunderstanding was with a very important friend and it was a mixture of my not understanding a situation and overreacting out of the same type of paranoia that leads me to confuse Birdy with my emails. It resolved itself and everything is fine and both Bluebell and I know what is going on and I apologized twice and the world keeps on spinning. But it took up most of my mind and so I wasn't able to function properly. Confusion, fear, and the anticipation of sadness or negative feelings paralyzes me apparently.

The other event that took up my time yesterday was a very weird conversation with my mother. A few months ago, BFF and her husband contemplated moving to Colorado for a job opportunity. I told my mother about this because, you know, she's my mom and for all I complain about her, she's a nice lady and takes an interest in the people in my life. She asked me yesterday about whether or not anything came from the CO talk and I told her that no, it didn't work out, so they are staying in Florida for now, which isn't terrible because they have a lot of family and friends down there. Mom then let me know that she was disappointed because she thought having a friend in CO would be an inducement to convince me to move there myself.

She'd mentioned this before, the idea that I move to CO. Let's remember that my mother lives in Arizona so what the fuck? This time I decided to just ask her outright, why do you want me to move to CO. "Because I don't like the idea of your being single and alone in Ohio and I thought if BFF moved to CO, you would have a friend there as well as family." I have first and second cousins in the Denver area, this is true. And they are super nice people and I like them, but I don't see them often at all and I wouldn't be hanging out with them all the time if we lived in the same city because I know them because they are related to me, not because we had some great times in high school or college together and formed a close bond. "I prefer to keep at least one state between me and family," I replied. "And if I move anywhere, it will be to our Texas office because I actually like what I do and I have a couple of friends there, including Hunter and Austin. Do you remember Austin? He dated Spark Plug for awhile. Now he's married and they just had their first baby not long ago."

See what I did there? Basically told my mother "screw family" but tried to cover my tracks by giving her some newsy information on an old friend from college. It sort of worked but it sort of backfired because the next thing she said was "I worry about you moving to place with married men as your  "Friends".  They have family commitments and you do not need to be involved with a man with "marital issues.'' Just saying." That was her knee jerk reaction, word for word (though I cleaned up her typos... mom's rocking an iPhone these days). But she's known me for 31 years so she shouldn't have been surprised when I came right back with "But BFF is a married woman with a 10 month old (she's walking and cute as a button by the way) so she wouldn't have loads of time for me either." That's right, play the naive-what-do-you-mean card.

Hunter and Austin better warn their wives because they apparently already have "marital issues" according to my mother. What's more, they better hope I don't ever transfer to the Dallas office because this bitch over here is a man eater and will just destroy the fuck out of their marriages. I had no idea that I was such a seductress or temptress. Mother knows best I suppose.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Because I don't feel like working, I'm doing this instead

Conversation via email.

ME: "Can't believe it's finally Friday. Am sooooooooo tired."

BFF: "Omg, me too. Ditto. I eat at my desk then take my lunch by going to LW Park and reading and napping in my car. I just got back and I am more tired than ever. Doesn't help that I don't have a/c so the heat really puts me to sleep."

ME: "lol, my buddy naps in his truck sometimes and was telling me I should try it by driving to the park around the corner. My friend Birdy and I spoke about how awesome it would be if we could nap and then be woken up and given a juice box."

BFF: "LOL I wonder if that's what happens to Baby? I would like to nap like that too. They pat them to sleep or rub their backs and I bet they get woken up like that too. And offered their juice cup and a snack. Damn it's good to be a Todd-la."

ME: "And you know they speak to them all softly 'there you are, Cat, wakey wakey. Let's sit up and have some juice, shall we? How about some orange wedges. Did you have sweet dreams?' And I'd be all rambly like little kids are when they first wake up.

God that would be nice. Instead, I have 1.5 hours left and then I'll drive home, collapse into bed whilst Johan screams at me, and wake up at some point in the evening totally confused. I'll be able to have a juice box though."

BFF: " Awe, that is exactly how I wake Baby up. "Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey...did you have good dreamers?" That is on the mornings where I have to wake her up because we have to leave early to go to school. Sweet at first and then it's all OK, hurry up lets get this diaper on you, don't cry, ok, ok, come on lets get your bottle come on now, don't cry, ok ok now we gotta get dressed, ok, ok, come on help a momma out Baby, don't cry, here shove some Cheerios in your face, come on, OK, OK gotta get in the car seat and go bye bye .... ugh. You'd think I'd be adult enough to get up extra early on those days so I don't rush a poor 12 month old, but NO."

ME: "Whatever, she deserves it because she gets awesome nap time."

 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This post is brought to you by Johan

Dear Oddly Hairless Bipedal Mammal:

What. The. Fuck. OK. I've lived here a long time. You don't allow me a calendar but I know it has been ages. So why do you have such a large head and such a small brain that you can 'own' me and not understand? Every fucking morning, EVERY fucking morning, once you are on my radar, I let you know that I'm here and that I have needs. You keep me in a mother fucking cage, bitch! How can I meet my needs without you?! I need hay. I need that shit like you need those bottles of wine I see you drink. So give    it    to    me.

Without fail, here is how it works out. You stumble out of your pigloo (I assume that is where you sleep because that is where I do), I yell at you to not forget about me. You turn on that weird noise box so you can here NPR tell you about traffic and weather. I scream and scream and you say "just a minute buddy", like I'm your fucking friend. Then you give me that half hearted handfull of hay, not caring if there is even a single puffy grass top in the mix. Then you go about what it is your people do. Before you leave, I yell again to let you know that you have not met my needs properly and you have the fucking audacity to say such things as "yes buddy, I know, but I have to go to work to keep you in hay." As IF you keep me in hay!? That shit is scarce as I have to rely on your meager handfulls.

Oh, OH! And then you leave me for FUCKING hours! I spend ALL day alone, with my thoughts, my water bottle, and my own shit. And you have the balls to walk in, whilst I'm screaming for attention, and you say "I'll be with you in a minute. Just let me pee." Bitch, I pee next to my food dish! You can't help a brother out before you pee next to your own? "Here you go buddy. Who's a good boy? Are you a good boy? No you're not!" That is what you say to me every mother fucking day. Well you know what? I am a good mother fucking boy! I'm a very good boy. You just don't see it because you disappear for hours on end.

So fuck you, weird, hairless, bipedal mammal. This shit is on you now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

And then she laughed

Let's stop with the boo hooing, shall we? That's the sort of them I seem to take with this blog, post something upsetting and then try to write about the lighter side of things. Two friends contacted me early in the day to see if I was feeling OK because they both knew how upset I was about my day yesterday. I felt miserable, and still do, but I try to make it a point to enjoy things as well, no matter how much I feel like ass. So, onward.

Remember how I had to clean out the refrigerators at work and I said that people know I'm not fucking around? Part of this duty includes sending out reminders, one on the Monday before the clean out and one on the morning of the clean out. Mine, on Friday, read something like this:
"This is your final notice that the refrigerators in the break room will be cleared out today. Anything that is left in the fridges between 3:30 and 3:45 is going in the trash. I don't care what it is. In fact, if there is fancy tupperware or a nice, cloth lunch bag, I'm going to put it in my car so you can't dig it out of the trash because I'm a petty, vindictive soul. No emails or post it notes will be honored...without a monetary bribe (checks will be accepted with a government issued ID."
So, earlier today, I ran into a relatively new nurse in the break room and she commented that I'd cracked her up with my email. She went on to say that she thought it was funny when I'd sent out the notice stating "you may put your items back in the refrigerators. Thank you for the vegetable platter." Because someone left an unopened package of cut up veggies and dip. I told the nurse that it turned out to be past its sell by date but that I'd planned to take it home to my guinea pig.

"Your what?"
"My guinea pig."

And that's when it happened. "You have a guinea pig!? Oh, my girls had those when they were smaller!" She proceeded to recount her experience with what turned out to be either gerbils or hamsters. At the end I said "yeah, but I have a guinea pig, it isn't the same thing." She responded with "no, I know, but now, my oldest girl, she lives out in Sacramento, she has rats!" I say guinea pig and you say whatever small rodent you can think of. Totally the same thing. 

The second funny thing isn't really that funny but I'm posting it as one of the funnier conversations from my day. Over texts:

BFF: "You doing ok?"
ME: "I'd like to punch Doe in the tit but I'm hanging in there."
BFF: ":(. Yeah. Read ur blog."
ME: "The Doe comment was actually about today. But Hunter called this a.m. to check on me and he made me laugh so I'm holding it together. May need anxiety meds."
BFF: "Well hit me up on msngr if u want to chat later."
ME: "Will do. Eating an apple and am convinced it will help."

Because I thought "anti anxiety medication" and then thought "meh, I'll eat an apple instead." And it made perfect sense to me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hold On

I feel very small tonight. Not in that way where you finally fit into a pair of jeans you haven't worn in ten years, which would be awesome and, if that were the case, I'd be ecstatically posting pictures of myself. No, I feel small in a helpless and weak way. Work is finally getting to a point where I'm questioning myself as to whether or not I can do it any longer, this particular work. If I had more hours, yes, definitely, I could. But I'm an hourly employee with only forty hours allotted to me and that just isn't enough.

I found out that after I left a departmental meeting, a few colleagues started bitching about me. I found this out from a medical director who told me that he stopped them and basically said "look, cut her a break, she spent two hours with the XXXXX project trying to get them set up and none of you had to do that. She's working her ass off and doing the best she can." It wouldn't have stung so much if the department were not the one I'd worked in for three years, the department I worked my tail off for and the one I'd still open a vein for. It would not have hurt so much if it wasn't for the fact that the medical director, a part time employee, understood that I'm working on a number of contracts and doing my best when full time employees devoted to one project are oblivious.

We'll say that I work on A, B, C, and D. If I talk to anyone from A, I'm only going to talk about A work and not mention anything about the others, just like I'm not going to talk about D with project B. When I talk to you, I'm going to be talking to you about your project, your needs, and what you want and need from me. That's what's relevant to you and your employees. I will never bring in anything else because you have enough to focus on without worrying about my work load. But just because I don't say anything about the other projects, don't assume I only work for you unless I report to you.

I feel small because I feel like I'm falling further and further into the rabbit hole and I see no place to grab hold. I either need more time or else more help. But there is very little that I can farm out considering that I've been the only one who does my job for the past three plus years. And what I do is very detail oriented and you put a control freak in the driver's seat. If you force me, then yes, I will delegate certain tasks, but only if you are willing to accept responsibility for the performance of others. I'm not. I can't. I've said it before, I'd be a terrible manager because I'd be a micromanager. I had help with this project once, a huge and important project and I checked the work of every single file because I knew and understand and appreciated that the bottom line rested with me. I was willing to put in the time because it mattered to me, I wanted our company to do well, and I could not trust that others knew what to do after I explained it for thirty minutes when I'd been doing it for a year and a half. We succeeded. It was worthwhile. But if you want me to delegate because you think my position doesn't merit salary, don't expect me to be responsible for the end product that is completed by someone else.

I'm torn because one part of me thinks I should just put in extra hours and not charge for the time because I want my projects, divisions, and company to do well. The other part thinks fuck that, why should I put in time and not get paid for it when I'm hourly and deserve overtime. Another part of me knows that I need to let it go. Maybe if I had a better manager, one who knew what was going on and knew what management meant, I'd be better able to leave this shit at the office. But all I have is what i have now, what I know now. And so I have to work with it.

As always, I know how fortunate I am to have this complaint because it is the complaint of a full time employee who is able to cover the cost of living. I know that in my society, this is to be cherished and to be grateful for. And I am. But I can't lie and pretend that there isn't a great deal of stress that goes along with it. It's like telling a teacher who is being funded less and less and being demanded of more and more that she should quit her bitching and just be grateful. Perhaps it is a weird sort of survivor guilt. I know I'm lucky and I don't know why I've been one to be so, but I still face challenges. Frankly, I should just be unabashed about my complaints and think in some sort of entitled way, but I don't. I know I'm lucky. I know I'm stressed out. I know that I feel guilty for being anything less than exuberant about my current life situation.

But there it is, the present American Experience. it is what it is. And as sick as I feel right now, I know I wouldn't trade it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

This is for fighting, this is for fun

Friday was, obviously, a bit difficult. I was OK for the most part, until the evening hit and I suddenly became very emotional. It was, after all, my fifth wedding anniversary and I am married to a man that I will be divorcing. I ended up feeling like Hell and, well, if you saw my last post you can probably imagine how badly I felt. I eventually texted Upstairs Kid to see if he was awake and available and we went to the local bar to drink. I basically drank too much and was sad. Because that is how I deal with events like Friday.

It worked out in my favor, however, as UK presented me with a phenomenal opportunity. There was a sale going on and we could purchase a Beretta, a very lovely pistol. J told me quite frankly that he could not take half of our tax return even though I offered and so I had a bit of disposable income. My plan all along, upon realizing it was all mine, was to put half of it on my credit card to pay it down and use the rest for living expenses and one bit of fun. I just didn't know that my bit of fun would come so soon. UK and I went to this particular gun store (conveniently located next to a pawn shop) and purchased Clyde, my new boyfriend. We went in halfsies. It's in my name because UK is a 21 year old black guy and he didn't know if he'd have an ID in time (he did) and because young black men are looked at as suspect, because the US is still a racist nation.

It took me three tries to fill out the paperwork because you have to be exact. No abbreviations are allowed and if you fuck up, you can't cross out and fix, you have to start over. I felt like I'd passed a final exam in college when I did it appropriately the last time and exhaled, not realizing I'd been holding my breath. UK had to buy me two beers afterwards because I'd had such a hard time. But it was sooooo worth it because now we have Clyde! One day UK might buy me out and I'll have my money back or else I'll buy him out and I'll have self protection, something I've thought about since J and I split up and I realized I was living alone again. Shooting is something I've fallen in love with as a hobby. I'm a very physical and visceral person, one who enjoys feeling connected to what I'm doing. That's why I don't like 22mm guns, I don't feel connected to the power. But this gun has the weight I like. We even handled 1911s so that I could make sure I was comfortable and I loved the 1911 we'd shot last week. So we have a reliable weapon to shoot, not needing to rent from the range, and can just go in and shoot.

I know, it isn't necessarily something that everyone will understand. I never thought I'd be a gun owner myself. But it's something that I've fallen in love with. Whilst at the bar, UK and I both mentioned how much we'd like to have land in order to go out back and just shoot. Hunter has that ability because of his life and if I ever get to visit him, I'm certain he'll take me out to just shoot out in the open. It's a fantastic feeling and honestly, this is the third best purchase I've ever made (1st is Johan, my guinea pig, the 2nd is a hotwheels car I bought the other day).

And so here he is, my new boyfriend, Clyde. Isn't he stunning?


 Judge my nail polish all you want. Hunter has already disagreed with it but I don't care because I like it. I also find it fitting for photos of my handling my gun.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Anniversary

Dear J,

Five years ago we married in the basement of the Cecil County Court House. It was Good Friday then as it is now and you proposed the year before on Easter Sunday. We always thought that was funny, or at least I did, our getting engaged and marrying on religious holidays when we are both atheists.

I'm so sorry things did not work out. I know I'm young and have years ahead of me but I think 31 is old enough to truly have regrets. I don't regret a minute with you. I don't regret falling in love with you or spending those years with you. They were and are some of the most important years of my life. Even though it has ended, our romance and marriage, I still think/know/understand that you have been one of the biggest influences in my life, in the shaping of who I am, and I'll never forget that.

What I regret is that we grew apart and I fell out of love with you. You truly are one of the best people I have ever met, one of the best I'll ever meet. You have done more for me than anyone, simply by being, and I'm so thankful that I've known you and you thought me worthy of your love and friendship.

I continue to worry about you and continue to wish that I had a 24/7 webcam into your life so that I can know what is going on. I want the power to control things so that I can direct your life in such a way that you are happy, healthy, and well. I can't have that, obviously, so I just have to let it go.

But I will always love you, I truly will. You sincerely are the best person I've ever met in my life and I'm so sorry for the hurt that I've caused you. If I could, I would go back and never meet you, not because of me but because of you, because I've caused you pain. The good you've done for me is not worth having hurt you and I hope you will one day understand and know that I'm honestly, sincerely, and truly sorry.

I love you and I wish you well. You deserve so much and I hope you allow yourself to be open to it.

Love,

Cat

How We Do

How I Run
This is kind of what I look like when I run these days.
A good friend of mine referenced the Terminator because of the sunglasses. As you can see, I cut the collars out of my shirts (don't like anything around my neck) and, in this instance,  I cut off one sleeve. What you can't see is that my iPod is tucked into my sports bra and when I'm out running, I have my keys clipped to said bra. Because I care, a lot, about how I'm dressed at all times.

Remember how excited I was the other day because I felt competent and smart? The very next day I was contacted by a program director regarding information I'd inputted incorrectly in a spreadsheet. How fucking stupid is that? Who is so dumb that they can't enter numbers correctly into a spreadsheet? This bitch, that's who. I got really worked up and upset about it, although I didn't show it whilst I finished out the day. I was embarrassed and mad at myself for making such an amateurish mistake and having it pointed out by someone else, especially someone in such a superior position, was humiliating. She was nice about it and all, and it was just a matter of phone numbers and there were no negative consequences because of my mistake but still, it pissed me off. I ruminated on it for the rest of the day and into the evening, feeling like shit and forcing myself to take proactive and corrective action by going through my massive spreadsheet and pulling up every single file so that I could verify the information or make any necessary alterations.

And the thing is that it wasn't a big deal and it didn't affect anything and I'm the only one who fucking cared. I didn't realize just how much I was blowing it out of proportion until I spoke with Hunter on the phone. I'm pretty sure he thought I must have done something really horrible that was going to cost the company money or something by the way I was talking about it. By the time he understood what a small issue it was, I felt a bit ridiculous for having been almost in tears. But that's how I work. I care very much about what I do and I take pride in it. I'm a strict task master with myself and just push and push and push myself towards better and better results. God help me if I make a simple mistake because I just go off the rails a bit. Sometimes I take a breath, think things through, and think "jesus christ, kid, calm - the fuck - down... or don't, enjoy that heart attack you're working up to."

Why I Run
I ordered a salad for lunch from a pizza place today. The fact that I ordered it from a 'restaurant' whose name includes the word 'pizza' will tell you that it wasn't the most healthy of salads. It wasn't awful but it had a ton of cheese. To go along with this so called healthy entree, I ordered bread sticks because if there is one thing I know, greasy, cheesy, doughy, white bread sticks play a major part in the food pyramid. As I told my friend "now I just feel fat and stupid." She congratulated me.

Given the amount of carbs I've just ingested, I'm hoping to find a burst of energy towards the end of the day so that I can go for a post work run. Given how I feel right now, however, I'm fairly certain I'm going to need a power nap first; hopefully I'll have the self-discipline to make it a 30 minute quickie, as I believe power naps are supposed to be, rather than taking the word 'power' and using it to mean 'I'm going to pass out, fully dressed, wake up around 8, and then have some wine' which is what I've been known to do on a Friday.

Louis C.K. has some really good jokes about being overweight and one of my favorite has to do with his answer to a doctor who asked him how long into a meal did he typically feel full and stop eating. His response was along the lines of "the meal doesn't end when I'm full. No, the meal ends when I'm feeling ashamed and sick." I don't know what on earth allows me to eat enough that I feel gross, but it happens from time to time. And it is always something sub par and unremarkable. It's not like I sat at my desk gorging on perfectly prepared duck and escargot. Crummy cheese-encrusted salad and bread sticks. I mean, yeah, they were OK but if I had gone to a restaurant and had this, I would have stopped eating and not taken the left overs.

So stop it, self. Let this be another one of those teachable moments and don't do it again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Twirling, Wirling

Dropping Houses
The evening before I went shooting with Upstairs Kid, we met up to go grab a bite to eat. Just as I got to his door, the tornado sirens started going off. "Fuck it," I said "I'll drive" as opposed to walking since we were just going up to the front of our neighborhood. I was cavalier because we'd had a tornado warning a few weeks ago and I overreacted. This time it was scarier because I was outside and watched the sky change colors (beautiful but not what I want to look at right before I'm thrown through the windows of a fast food restaurant and splattered on the pavement). I didn't get too scared, although I was nervous, and obviously everything worked out well indeed for yours truly. UK and I went about our business and then went home.

This afternoon, there were tornadoes in the Dallas area, all around my company's Texas office. That actually scared me more than when my office has gathered in a conference room when sirens have gone off in Columbus. I watched live footage on the internet and repeatedly texted my friend. I didn't realize until it was all over how tensed up I was. I have a couple of friends who work in our Texas office in the area where the storms hit, and the idea of losing them was crushing. I mean, Hunter, my best friend, works there and where would I be without him making me laugh with Happiness Fat Guy pictures and absurd things coming out of his mouth? Quite unhappy and crushed indeed, that's where. I did the sort of obnoxious thing anyone does in this situation, telling him to make sure he called and checked on his wife and to drive safely when it was safe to go. Because clearly, a man who has been married for nearly 25 years wouldn't have already called and checked on his wife and, as an adult, he's probably going to slam down a few shots before he decides to drive home. Look, I don't want children but I do have some maternal instincts and he's nice enough to just put up with it and laugh at me. For all of my bluff and gruff demeanor, I know that I'm actually a very caring person, but it struck me today just how much I care for certain people and how much they mean to me, how much losing them would hurt.

Fortunately, Hunter and my other friends are fine. I'm hoping they didn't suffer much damage to their homes. Watching the footage was horrific and my heart goes out to everyone affected, obviously.

Under Water
Work is nutty and I love it because I love what I do and love having so much work but I'm positively overwhelmed. So much so that I got up, walked passed a neighbor's cube, stopped, and said "I don't remember why I got up...oh right, I need to use the ladies room." My neighbor started cracking up and I told her to shut up because it wasn't funny. These days I'm doing six things at once and can't seem to remember to combine trips so I literally needed to pee and forgot about it and had to figure out why I was away from my desk. But seriously, things are really awesome right now. Yes, I have moments where I feel paralyzed because I don't know where to start in my mountain of work but I'll take that over having little to do. And I'm growing more and more competent as I gain more experience. These days I can reliably answer the phone and sound intelligent regardless of which book of business a physician is calling about.

This is particularly satisfying because it's been a long road to get to the level of competency I now have. I have been doing what is now my main job for roughly three and a half years. There are three main books of business that my division deals with and Book A is one I've always been well acquainted with as I worked in that unit for about three years. But Books B and C I've never worked in and I was never trained in them. But I've finally gotten the level of knowledge necessary to talk about it with interested candidates so that I can say what we are asking them in terms of review work. I also have enough experience, finally, to be able to speak with potential reviewers and not be nervous. These are all physicians, some of them arrogant and self important, a few who are unabashed about telling me they make $1,000 in fifteen minutes (that happened, an anesthesiologist who I inadvertently made feel guilty for saying such a thing). So it is gratifying to know that I am, actually a professional in my field.

I'm actually hoping to travel to Texas at some point to train a particular division in my field so that they understand that I'm a good resource for them, to let them understand what is involved with regards to clinical review. I finally feel adult enough and capable enough to feel like I have something worthy of imparting. And I know that I can create alliances, regardless of how my boss presents himself, because I know it will benefit the company and me, in the long run. All in all, it's a very good feeling indeed.

And for that, I am grateful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

...or else it gets the hose again

Blah-dow
Upstairs Kid and I went to the gun range on Saturday, this time to shoot pistols. It was a different range and we had to rent the guns so it was like going for my first time all over again. I shot a 22 mm revolver, a 9mm, and a 45mm. First things first, I'll just let you know right now that I'm a crap shot. I was originally shooting at a distance that was pretty ridiculous for a beginner and my aim improved when UK brought the target closer. The easiest to shoot, of course, was the revolver, since it felt very much like firing a cap gun. The 9mm was the hardest for me because I felt like I had very little control. Oddly, it was the 45 that was my favorite and, of course, the one I shot the least. As I said, we had to rent the guns from the location and they were old and not in very good shape. The 45 kept jamming and by then I had a headache and had been freezing the entire time we were there. But I had good control on it and I liked the power. And let's face it, it feels bad ass to casually comment on having shot a few pistols over the weekend and finding I have a preference for the 45 (the one I shot is a Colt 1910, I believe). We just won't talk about how weird forearm muscles hurt in my right arm because I'm such a pussy and a weakling.

Like the Wolf
I also read The Hunger Games over the weekend because I give into peer pressure and cultural zeitgeist. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing the movie one day but I'm more interested in two pieces of negative criticism the movie has received from certain fans. The first is the mild outrage amongst those who disagreed with casting the characters of Rue and Thresh with African Americans. Uhm, Rue is described as having dark skin and hair so what were you expecting? Also, I think you dropped your racism. One person evidently 'tweeted' that it kind of ruined the movie for him/her. Really? Rue is an endearing character and I don't want to make it seem like she wasn't important but she wasn't exactly the Luke Skywalker of the film if you know what I mean.

More disturbing, in my opinion, is the criticism of the actress who played Katniss Everdeen*. Some commented that the character in the book is emaciated and starving and that Lawrence (I think that is the actress's last name) was too 'robust' to be believable. What the fuck? Do you really expect and actress to starve herself until she is emaciated so that you aren't disappointed and can lose yourself in the story? OK, so some actors like Matt Damon and Christian Bale have gone to ridiculous lengths with that shit and actresses have as well, but I'm sorry, women and young girls have enough societal pressure to be rail thin without people whining about a thin actress being too big to play a fictional character. You know they didn't really kill anyone in the film right? Does that take away from your ability to enjoy it?

Soap box dismounted.

*I'm not proud of it, but every time I read Katniss, I automatically think cat piss.

Be a bit less cool, will you?
I know I'm a it of a dork and I'm fine with it but every so often I get to do something that others might find banal and tedious and I absolutely revel in it. BFF understands this to a point, because she and I share a certain affinity for technical writing. One of those things I got to do recently was revise a CV. Actually, BFF sent me hers to proof read and I returned it with minimal changes because, like I said, she's into technical writing so she knows what she's doing. In fact, she's proofed my resume on a number of occasions and I was gratified the last time when she had very minute comments/changes to be made. More fun was revising Hunter's CV because he'd never had anyone really look at it for him and so there was a lot for me to do. How ridiculous is it to get excited and spend hours of your free time cleaning up tenses, rewording things, and then putting together a few notes on why the changes were necessary? I don't know if he predicted how seriously I would take the task when he originally sent me his document, but I spent a few hours on it, had two teleconferences with him about it, and have given him two assignments to complete before we can consider his CV done. He's been very receptive and has thanked me for putting in the effort though so I don't feel like I've overstepped any boundaries by chastising him for not having had input from someone sooner. 

The other nerdy thing I got to do involved expense reporting. My company uses a certain program for travel and expense and it isn't always straightforward. Whilst I'm not a big fan of the travel part, I do love doing expense reports for my boss, especially when they are a bit involved or tricky. He doesn't travel much these days so I don't get to have much fun, but this morning a friend asked me a question about how to reflect a rate change during a multiple day stay at a hotel and so I got to delve into his report figuring it out. I'd done it before but it was quite some time ago so it took me a couple of minutes to figure it out. I think I enjoy that sort of thing because it makes me feel competent. Technically, I'm only really supposed to be an administrator for my boss in this program but I've been named as such by about five people. Being so sadly non-visual is part of that reason. You can ask me how to do something that I know how to do but unless I do it myself, I'm unable to explain it. This morning I figured out the puzzle and then called my friend to walk him through it. It's nice of me and all, to help people out with their expense reporting when it isn't my responsibility, but, as I say, I'm a huge dork and I get something from it.

I only wish I'd been like this when I was in school because it probably would have come in handy way before I needed to book travel and expense $2.34 receipts. And don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those grammar people who judge others for ending sentences in prepositions. And I certainly do not speak the King's English or anything like that. I just enjoy the challenge and am flattered when people entrust me with something like a resume. And whatever, some people like Nascar, others like Civil War reenactments, and I like expense reporting. We are all dorky in our own way. 

Except for Sherlock Holmes. That mother fucker is just badass.